Unified Communications Featured Article

Mitel Unveils New UC Portfolio, Partners for Telepresence

December 29, 2008

Mitel has several new developments within its Unified Communications (UC) portfolio, including new desktop and mobile UC clients for its flagship 3300 IP Communications Platform (ICP) for enterprise users (up to 65,000 users) and a new licensing scheme.

 
Last year, Mitel merged with Inter-Tel and has been aggressively incorporating their products into its portfolio, announcing the rebranded Mitel 5000 SMB platform and extending the Mitel IP phone series and applications across these platforms, globally. While the new UC clients and licensing scheme are first available for the enterprise-level 3300 ICP, Mitel will extend these to the Mitel 5000 in 2009.

At VoiceCon San Francisco in October, Mitel unveiled three new UC clients, available formally for the 3300 ICP on December 15, 2008, as follows:
 
Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Express (right screen shot) is a server-less desktop UC client (located in the tool tray of the PC screen) that works with a Mitel desktop IP phone or as a softphone, for some popular PC-based calling features, including click-to-call, incoming caller ID pop-ups, call history information, speed calling, directory look-ups (personal contact in Microsoft Outlook and corporate contacts in Microsoft Active Directory), integration to public Instant Messaging engines and hot desking. Mitel includes UC Express free with every UC Standard User license purchased. UC Express replaces Mitel’s earlier “Integrated Office Companion.”
 
Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Advanced is positioned as the flagship UC Client for the 3300 ICP (available in 2009 for Mitel 5000). This server-based comprehensive UC client enables call control and a softphone capability from a PC or laptop and includes presence status information, secure Instant Messaging, audio and web conferencing, video and data collaboration.  Mitel and third-party applications can also be launched from the UC Advanced client. It integrates with Microsoft software (including Exchange, Outlook, Active Directory, Office and Internet Explorer) and IBM Lotus Notes, and an open API enables integration with business process software like Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM to tie call activity into these databases and associated processes. The associated UC Advanced server houses a new Mitel presence ‘engine’ which means that Mitel does not have to rely on Microsoft OCS for the presence capability, though this integration is still possible. UC Advanced replaces Mitel’s earlier Your Assistant Premium and adds some new functionality.
 
A third UC client, Mitel Unified Communicator (UC) Mobile (formerly Mobile Extension), allows users to have a single number and single mailbox by enabling telephony features, directories and presence information from a mobile phone (e.g. Windows Mobile, Symbian (Nokia) clients and RIM BlackBerry devices, a native integration). Calls can be received and initiated over the private enterprise communications system, and users can transfer calls between their mobile handset and desk phone. Mitel notes that Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC) is on its product roadmap; calls will transmit throughout a corporate LAN/WAN and over a cellular network via dual mode (WiFi) functionality on a mobile device.
 
To simplify and streamline the purchase, implementation and administration of these new UC clients, Mitel introduces SiMple Personal Licensing, a three-level, role-based software licensing scheme with pre-integrated applications and straightforward bundles that offers customers a price break when they choose the bundle. Bundled applications are available for common user groups as follows:
 
The UC Basic User license addresses typical IP phone user needs and provides a phone license for a hard of soft IP phone and number portability (hot desking) that allows a user to log-in at an alternate telephone (calling privileges, speed-dials and feature keys are re-mapped to the set upon log-in). For office workers and administrative staff who have more intensive phone usage requirements, the UC Standard User license builds on the UC Basic license, adding the UC Express Client, unified messaging and PC desktop features like click-to-call. 
 
For sales personnel, road warriors, executives and core personnel, Mitel offers the UC Advanced User license that incorporates the UC Standard User functionality, plus a UC Advanced Client softphone for full UC capabilities, including presence, Instant Messaging, Web conferencing and collaboration. The UC Advanced User license also provides integration to a mobile phone or other device (mobile phone twinning). For full mobile device two-way calling (i.e. 4-digit dialing) on a corporate network, the Mitel Unified Communicator Mobile client can be added optionally.
 
Mitel also announces the Mitel TeleCollaboration Solution, jointly developed by Mitel and Magor (a Terry Matthews’ company), which will combine Mitel’s collaboration functionality (desktop audio conferencing and Mitel phones) with Magor’s video and telepresence system. Solutions will range from a single screen offer (High Definition, 1080p resolution, wideband audio) to multiple screens (four or five) with elements of telepresence (for a life-like experience), and will facilitate Web collaboration for document sharing and whiteboarding. Per Mitel, this will be sold at an attractive price to provide cost effective video collaboration and telepresence capabilities to both SMBs and larger enterprises.
 
TelecomTactics Takeaway: Mitel highlights an “intelligent migration” for customers as they begin realize the benefits of Unified Communications. Mitel’s new UC Client portfolio and new simplified UC bundled license scheme provide a cost-effective, phased approach that is deployed per user and/or site requirements. Mitel also highlights its open integrations with third-party solutions like Salesforce.com and Microsoft CRM which broaden the options for customers. Mitel continues to integrate and advance its product line following the merger with Inter-Tel last year. Inter-Tel’s UC client will phase out in 2009 in favor of the new UC client offers. Visit www.telecomtactics.com to learn more about Mitel’s 3300 ICP and other IP PBXs on the market, as well as new Desktop Tools for these systems.
 
T3i Group is launching a new Unified Communications Client Comparison (UC3) database that includes specific and detailed information (over 450 feature/function points of comparison) on the leading vendor desktop products. Also new is Collaboration Tactics, a database publication that covers services (Audioconferencing, Videoconferencing and Webconferencing services) and systems (Desktop/Personal, Room/Group and Video/Telepresence systems) from leading vendors. Stay tuned for more on these new T3i Group programs due out in early 2009.

Sandra M. Gustavsen, senior analyst for T3i Group, contributes her TelecomTactics column to iotconnectivitysolutions. To read more of Sandra’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Michelle Robart

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